The 2020 edition of the IPL has finally begun, and as of now, almost all the teams have played a game. It's safe to say that the action is well and truly underway. We've witnessed the superstars of the game come out with all guns blazing and some youngsters have also shown us why they're so highly rated.
The overall quality of the cricket being played has also been among the best with a Super Over needed on the second day of the tournament.
Tonight, the finalists of the inaugural IPL face off against each other, and it promises to be a entertaining encounter. One question that remains, however, is the overseas combination for the Rajasthan Royals.
Under normal circumstances, names such as Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes would be automatic inclusions in the XI. Given Buttler's 6-day quarantine, and the uncertainty of Stokes's availability, the Royals will be forced to look beyond the two highly rated Englishmen, who have been on song for their national squad.
Royals captain Steve Smith will want to ensure that the best combination of overseas players is picked. Along with winning the game, he will also want to test the foreigners in case he needs to turn to them in the later stages of the tournament.
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Here, we look at the 4 best overseas picks for the Royals for their first game of the season against the Chennai Super Kings.
1. Steve Smith
Captain of the Rajasthan Royals, Steve Smith becomes an automatic pick in the side. Not just because of the fact that he's the captain but also because of the tremendous skill and experience he brings to the table as a batsman and fielder. Smith has always been a decent performer for the Royals but is yet to have an extraordinary season with the franchise.
The main reason for this could be his batting position, as Smith generally tends to bat at numbers 4 and 5. Given that his best performances in the shorter formats have come at number 3, he could be looking to bat higher up the order to make more of an impact for his team.
The 31-year-old Australian batting mainstay has played 81 games in the IPL, having made just over 2,000 runs at a healthy average of 37.44.
2. Jofra Archer
The Barbadian-born English pacer has impressed one and all with his aggressive style of bowling combined with fiery pace. Jofra Archer was brought into the Rajasthan unit in 2018 after a successful Big Bash outing. Since then, he has continued to grow in confidence as a cricketer and has refused to look back.
The 25-year-old has played 21 matches in the IPL, picking up 26 wickets at an average of 23.7 and a relatively miserly economy of 7.53 runs per over. Archer also chips in as a gun fielder and adds a punch to an already great fielding side. It is all but certain that Archer will play for the Royals in their opening clash, and deservedly so.
3. Tom Curran
Another Englishman in a side seemingly full of explosive English cricketers, Tom Curran may be likely to play his first game tonight for the Rajasthan Royals. The 25-year-old, who represents Surrey in the English County, is a handy all-rounder that can make a few vital runs in the lower middle-order, while also serving as a wicket-taking option with the ball.
Having played for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the 2019 edition of the IPL, Curran played only 5 games for the two-time IPL winning franchise. While he wasn't too impressive with the bat, his bowling average of 19.67 proves that he can do some damage with the ball in hand.
In the absence of RR mainstays, this could be Tom Curran's best opportunity to make a mark in the IPL, ensuring that he is considered for selection in the future.
4. David Miller
When one thinks of David Miller, the one memory that comes to mind is his unbeaten 101 off just 38 deliveries against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2013. The game that earned him the title of 'Killer Miller' showed the world what he was capable of.
Unfortunately for Miller, a dip in form has seen him struggle for runs in the past few years, be it for his national side or otherwise. This saw him being left out of the Kings XI Punjab unit as well, before eventually being pulled in by the Royals.
With 1,850 IPL runs at an average of 34.26, there's no doubt that the athletic 31-year-old Protean can still play the big game. An opportunity tonight could give him just the opportunity that he needs to come good and showcase it. The fact that Miller is a middle-order batsman that plays spin well may turn out to be an asset for his side, especially given the nature of the UAE pitches.Published 22 Sep 2020, 16:55 IST